Last week, Georgia was included in the midseason honor roll for the Joe Moore Trophy, an award given to the nation's best offensive line at the end of the season. On Thursday, junior offensive tackle Andrew Thomas was named a finalist for the Outland Trophy. In between came the group’s best performance of the season Saturday in the win over then-No. 6 Florida.
Heading into the Missouri game Saturday, the Bulldogs’ offensive line is a big reason that a betting line that opened at less than two touchdowns has grown to over 17 points.
Georgia’s offensive line is finally healthy and is playing the way everybody expected it to play.
“Our guys have done a good job up front,” coach Kirby Smart said. “That’s one thing they do really well is pass (protection), and it’s like (offensive line coach) Sam (Pittman) says, you get good at what you practice at. Well, we practice that, too.”
Obviously, there is more to offensive line play than size, but the Bulldogs happen to have one of the biggest in football. The five starters against Florida averaged 6-foot-5, 328.6 pounds, which is the largest in school history.
That’s considerably bigger than the defensive line Georgia will be facing Saturday. Missouri’s starting defensive line averages 281 pounds --but similar to what the Bulldogs faced against Florida, which leads the SEC in sacks, with 29.
Notably, Georgia didn’t allow a sack against the Gators and has given up only four all season. Three of those came against South Carolina.
Smart attributed the success against Florida to a decision that Pittman made heading into the game.
“In the offensive-only meeting I get to sit in on Friday nights … Sam stood up,” Smart said. “Sam never talks, but he said, ‘I’m just a fat O-line coach, but they asked me earlier in the week, ‘Do we need to protect (the O-line), take the backs, the tight ends and chip these guys?’ I told them, ‘No, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to let these guys go play. We’re going to let them play in space, and we’re going to block them, and I’ll be glad if we didn’t do that.’”
Worked well. Expect the Bulldogs to stick with that game plan against Missouri, which comes in with only 13 sacks.
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